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Automotive companies are approaching Sondrel to entirely control their chip supply


Staff member

Reading, UK 21 May, 2024.
There were many reasons why the automotive supply chain was broken a while back such as the pandemic and home working changing the mix of ICs produced. At the time, BMW and VW both said that these issues would take a year or longer to resolve which has had a major impact on the supply of chips to car manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers. As a result, many are changing their supply chain model to reduce vulnerabilities to disruptions by taking control of the entire supply chain. However, their purchasing departments started with little or no experience of the complexities of the semiconductor design and manufacture process. This is why they are now engaging with outsourced ASIC design and manufacturing companies, such as Sondrel, to manage every aspect.

“We have detailed knowledge of the exacting standards required from handling many automotive IC projects such as ISO 26262 along with the requirements of Functional Safety (FuSa),” explained Ollie Jones, Sondrel’s VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing. “For example, we have just successfully completed the tape out of a custom ASIC for a Tier 1 Automotive customer. Automotive OEMs want to differentiate their cars and increasingly this is done by the functionality provided by the electronics running custom software. Having your own specially designed chips supports product differentiation and protection of IP compared to using off-the-shelf chips. It also allows optimisation of power performance and costs. You are totally in control of the number of chips produced based on your own forecasts so that removes the costs of just-in-case ordering from several different semiconductor companies.

“In summary, using Sondrel to design and manufacture a bespoke chip enables automotive customers to fully own their supply chain of chips, creating a barrier to entry for rivals trying to replicate unique functions, and could potentially save on the bill of materials as the functionalities of several chips could be integrated into one. This completely disrupts the traditional, tiered model of system houses that integrate chips from IC manufacturers into subsystems for Automotive OEMs.”

As an outsourced turnkey ASIC supplier, Sondrel takes total responsibility for the smooth running of every stage in the value chain with fully tested chips being delivered to a specified schedule. Often it is involved right at the planning stage of each chip project where mission critical decisions are made on the architecture, process technology, design for test, test regimes, and packaging parameters, so that the supply chain is mapped out to ensure on time and on budget delivery.

With ADAS as a major growth area for automotive electronics, Sondrel has developed a fast-track design platform specially for ADAS chips in the form of its SFA 350A. It has four channels for sensors that can be either passive, such as optical via camera inputs, or active using LiDAR or RADAR. It is part of Sondrel’s Architecting the Future™ family of frameworks that just need the addition of the customer’s or third-party IP to provide a solution that exactly meets a customer’s requirements. “Our Architecting the Future family plays a vital role in ensuring that we deliver rapid, high-quality designs at the start of the ASIC manufacturing process to ensure we mitigate risk to deliver to schedule and on budget,” added Jones.

Link to Press Release